China

China’s Sinopec buys first major African refinery in Chevron deal

23 Mar 2017   China, South Africa

China’s Sinopec ( 600028.SS ) ( 0386.HK ) said on Wednesday it has agreed to pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp’s ( CVX.N ) South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana, securing its first major refinery on the continent. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, said the assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. They also include 220 convenience stores across South Africa and Botswana. With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years, to currently total about 27 million tonnes, it said. Sinopec said it would […]

Beset by delays, Myanmar-China oil pipeline nears start-up

22 Mar 2017   China, Myanmar

Nearly a decade in the making, a project to pump oil 770 km (480 miles) across Myanmar to southwest China is set for imminent start-up, with a supertanker nearing the port of Kyauk Phyu, marking the opening of a new oil trading route. Dogged by sensitive relations between Naypyitaw and Beijing, the $1.5 billion oil pipeline has been sitting empty for two years, but the two sides are now close to a deal, said Myanmar-based government and industry sources, despite some last-minute tensions. An agreement between China’s PetroChina and Myanmar’s government will allow the state energy giant to import overseas oil via the Bay of Bengal and pump it through the pipeline to supply a new 260,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in landlocked Yunnan province. The new […]

Japan’s Top Oil Experts Seek Solutions to Chinese Fuel Flood Problem

22 Mar 2017   China, Japan

Huddled deep within Tokyo’s government district, nearly two dozen of Japan’s top oil experts pore over a problem plaguing its energy industry: how can they stop China from pushing its crude refiners into a corner? The task force, summoned by the trade ministry, needs a strategy to save oil refiners battered by years of declining demand at home. The processors, including JX Holdings Inc. and Idemitsu Kosan Co., now face rising competition for sales in Asia, the world’s biggest oil market. The ministry fears that China’s move to adopt stricter fuel standards will spur regional rivals into producing higher quality products, forcing Japan out of the market. “We’ve been saying for more than 20 years that Japanese refiners should become stronger,” said Hidemasa Nishiyama, director of the trade ministry’s petroleum refining and reserve division. “The external environment has changed: the capacity of China and other countries is becoming excessive, […]

A Sign Of Slowing Demand? Chinese Refiners Reach Crude Import Quota

22 Mar 2017   China

China’s independent refiners known as teapots have used up the amount of imported crude that the government allocated to them in January, which means imports are likely to slow down through June, Platts estimates . That’s the month when Beijing will hold a second round of quotas. The January quotas had 45.64 million metric tons of imported crude distributed among the teapots, most of which has already been processed. This amount is close to that allocated to teapots for the whole of last year: 60 million tons. As a portion of total Chinese crude oil imports, the 2016 quota allocations were equal to 16 percent. The reason for the premature emptying of the tanks was that the 2017 allocations were based on how much each independent refiner had imported in January-October 2016, so those whose imports were higher in the last two months of the year received a lower […]

How Tesla Just Tripled Its Earnings In China

21 Mar 2017   China, Electric Cars

Earlier this month, Tesla Inc reported that its revenues in China topped $1 billion in 2016, more than triple the revenues it generated there in 2015. The Chinese market was only second to the U.S. in terms of revenue generation for Tesla last year. The electric carmaker is not breaking down revenues by items, and has not offered any explanation for the triple revenues in China. The revenue jump could have been the result of China’s license plate-issuing policies in major cities that fast track EV license plates issuing as the country grapples with perpetual pollution and traffic jams. Tesla’s Chinese revenues last year were $1.065 billion, compared to $318.5 million in 2015, and $477 million in 2014, the EV carmaker’s regulatory filing from March 1 shows. According to Reuters Breakingviews ’ Robyn Mak, one of the key contributors to Tesla’s soaring Chinese revenues is the local green-car, or […]

Analysis: Chinese independent refiners’ crude oil imports set to slow on quota issues

21 Mar 2017   China

Crude imports by China’s independent refiners are expected to slow down in the coming months as several refiners have used up most of their allocation from the first round of import quotas and will need to wait until June for the second round before resuming purchases. Independent refiners need government-allotted quotas to import crude oil. A total of 45.64 million mt of quotas were allocated to 19 independent refineries in the first round in January. The refiners have submitted applications for a second batch of quotas, but the government is only expected to allocate fresh quotas in June leaving the refiners with the option of either reducing throughput or buying barrels from the domestic spot market, market sources said. China’s independent refineries imported a total of 60 million mt (1.2 million b/d) of crude oil in 2016, according to S&P Global Platts estimates. This represented 16% of China’s total […]

Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

20 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia will increase their cooperation in the oil sector, including in Saudi oil exports to China, the two countries said in a joint communique issued on Saturday at the end of Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Beijing. The world’s largest oil exporter has been looking to cement ties with the world’s second-largest economy. After losing market share to Russia last year, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms. “Both countries are willing to raise their level of cooperation in the oil sector, including supplying Saudi oil to the continuously growing Chinese market,” the two said in […]

Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

18 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia will increase their cooperation in the oil sector, including in Saudi oil exports to China, the two countries said in a joint communique issued on Saturday at the end of Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Beijing. The world’s largest oil exporter has been looking to cement ties with the world’s second-largest economy. After losing market share to Russia last year, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms. “Both countries are willing to raise their level of cooperation in the oil sector, including supplying Saudi oil to the continuously growing Chinese market,” the two said in […]

China’s Crude Oil Production Falls 8% Year Over Year

17 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil production dropped by 8 percent annually to 31.44 million tons in January and February, as high domestic production costs prompted refineries to import more crude oil, according to data by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In the first two months of this year, the total crude processing volume stood at 90.76 million tons, up by 4.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Crude oil imports, on the other hand, rose by 12.5 percent to 65.8 million tons, Xinhua news agency reports, quoting NBS figures. Despite the higher global oil prices at around $50 this year, compared to last year’s lows, Chinese refineries still preferred to import crude rather than buy domestically produced oil due to the high production costs, NBS noted, as reported by Xinhua. China’s domestic crude oil output faltered in 2016, after the oil price slump pushed many of its […]

China, Saudi Arabia Ink $65-Billion Worth Of Preliminary Deals

17 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia have signed preliminary deals that could be worth as much as $65 billion if finalized, Xinhua reports . The news came on the first day of a four-day visit by Saudi King Salman to China. China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said that President Xi Jinping and King Salman inked a total 14 cooperation agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on 35 projects for “production capacity and investment cooperation”. Among the industries that the agreements cover are oil production, petrochemicals, and even space. China is a crucial market for Saudi oil, and the king’s visit is widely seen as an attempt to secure future exports, preferably under long-term contracts, which is the standard approach of the Kingdom toward crude oil exports. Outside oil exports, Saudi Arabia is also looking for opportunities to expand its refining and chemical production markets, Reuters notes , as part of […]

China’s crude oil output falls 8 pct

17 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil output fell 8 percent year on year in the first two months of 2017 as refineries slashed production and imported more due to high exploitation costs, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Thursday. Crude oil output came in at 31.4 million tonnes during the period, while imports gained 12.5 percent to 65.8 million tonnes. Although the global oil price has hovered around 50 U.S. dollars per barrel this year, domestic refineries still opted for more imports due to high production costs, according to the NBS. In the first two months, natural gas output totaled 25.2 billion cubic meters, unchanged from the same period last year. Imports of natural gas grew 7.5 percent. China aims to increase domestic crude oil output to 200 million tonnes by 2020, while supply capacity for natural gas should exceed 360 billion cubic meters. […]

China’s Sinopec nears deal to buy Chevron’s South African oil assets: sources

17 Mar 2017   China

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is nearing an agreement to buy a majority stake in Chevron Corp’s South African assets, which are estimated at $1 billion, two people familiar with the transaction said. The sources said that Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to completing a deal with the U.S. oil major. If the deal is finalised, it will be Sinopec’s first refinery asset in Africa, forming a part of the Chinese major’s global fuel distribution network. Sinopec declined to comment. Chevron first announced plans in January 2016 to sell the stake in the business unit, which includes a 110,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Cape Town, South Africa. Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall said “the process of soliciting expressions of interest in the 75 percent shareholding is ongoing.” The remaining 25 percent interest is held by a consortium of Black Economic Empowerment shareholders and an […]

Big energy fears peak oil demand is looming

15 Mar 2017   China, Peak Oil

In an attempt to improve the quality of Beijing’s polluted air , the authorities are planning to mandate that every new taxi in the city must be electric or gas-fuelled, China’s National Business Daily reported last month. Beijing’s taxi drivers are no fans of the electric cabs in use there since 2014, complaining about inadequate battery range, alarming performance dips in cold weather and insufficient charging stations. But the thought of the Chinese government taking concerted action to push road transport towards alternative fuels will send chills down the spine of every oil producer worldwide. The prospect of “peak demand” for oil — an end to growth in global consumption — has been discussed in the energy industry for many years, without apparently coming much closer. But some of the world’s leading oil companies now see peak demand and sustained lower crude prices as a risk that they need […]

China ramping up controls on imports of low-quality coal: official

15 Mar 2017   China

China is ramping up controls on imports of low-quality coal due to concerns about smog and overcapacity in the world’s top coal consumer, a government official said on Wednesday, as traders report some cargoes have been delayed by customs checks. “As long as coal meets standards, we don’t forbid imports, but we are imposing controls on low-quality coal imports,” said Zhi Shuping, head of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine which oversees imports safety. The official was speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s parliament. “If we let all kinds of coal import into domestic market, it will hit the domestic market,” Zhi said. Last year, the agency rejected 1.5 million tonnes of imported coal, […]

China crude oil stockpiling impervious to OPEC price hike: Russell

15 Mar 2017   China

China’s stockpiling of crude oil appears to have increased in the first two months of the year, despite prevailing higher prices caused by OPEC and its allies curbing output. The country rarely releases detailed inventory levels for strategic and commercial storage, but it’s possible to work out an estimate from net crude imports, domestic output and refinery throughput. In the first two months of 2017 the total amount of crude available from net imports and domestic output was 96.72 million tonnes, equivalent to about 11.97 million barrels per day (bpd), according to official statistics. The refinery throughput for January and February was 90.76 million tonnes, or about 11.23 million bpd, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. On a daily basis, the runs for the first […]

China makes first-ever US SPR crude oil purchase

15 Mar 2017   China

PetroChina pays highest price among all winners Final destination of the crude not yet decided Analyst calls it a profile-building exercise PetroChina International has bought crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve — the first such purchase by a Chinese company — in a move that further underscores growing Chinese interest in US crude. PetroChina International, the overseas trading arm of state-owned oil giant PetroChina, bought 550,000 barrels from the SPR in the US Department of Energy’s latest sale for a total of $28.8 million ($52.36/b). A Beijing-based senior crude trader with PetroChina International Tuesday said that the deal, announced last week by the US Department of Energy, was not yet completed and they have not decided whether to bring the barrels back to China or send them elsewhere as the volume is small. PetroChina’s Houston office would not comment. “We notice that more and more crude barrels […]

China to set up special fund on smog research: premier

15 Mar 2017   China

Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday China will set up a special fund and pool the country’s best scientists to find out the “unique” cause of smog that frequently blankets north China in winter. “The cause of smog should be found out as soon as possible so our response will be more effective,” Li said while addressing a press conference after conclusion of the annual national legislative session. The government is determined to spend as much as needed for the research, he said, pledging that the country will fight and win the battle against smog. “Smog tackling methods will focus on coal-burning, automobile exhaust, and dust,” he said, but acknowleging that the it takes time to win the battle. “The […]

China Teapot Refineries Lobby For Fuel Export Ban Removal

11 Mar 2017   China

Independent Chinese refineries, known as teapots, are lobbying with the government for the lifting of a fuel export ban that has cut a major source of income. The export quotas were suspended at the end of last year without an official warning or explanation. Teapots last year got their first fuel export quotas, which led to improved crude oil demand in China, positively affecting international prices. In fact, the teapots were considered by many to be among the factors that put a stop to the oil price slide that brought prices below $30 a barrel in February 2016. The leaders of the lobbying drive are two members of parliament and heads of two major teapots: Wang Youde of Hengyuan Petrochemical Co. and Li Xiangping, the chief of the largest teapot, Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group. Li told Reuters that the ban increased the pressure from domestic competition for independent refiners […]

Can China Lead The World Economy?

11 Mar 2017   China

Summary China is routinely presented in media as the world’s next economic leader. It has delivered impressive GDP growth. However, it is not as developed as its image in media suggests. Also, it does not innovate. Its growth may not continue as expected due to the rise of automated manufacturing. China is routinely presented in media as the world’s next economic leader. To consider the idea in-person, I spent time in Shanghai in December, and in Guangzhou last month and again last week. I took trains, stayed in hotels, ate in restaurants, walked the cities, rode a rented bicycle, bought a suit, shot photos, and wrote notes. China’s historical GDP growth has been impressive, and when projected along its current path puts the country on track to become the largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP by 2033, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit . The […]

China’s Newest Economic Data Don’t Add Up

9 Mar 2017   China

For the second day running, China data have economists scratching their heads. Tuesday came a surprise increase in foreign-exchange reserves. Wednesday, it was an unexpected trade deficit—China’s first in three years—which made the rise in…

China’s February crude oil imports hit second highest on record

8 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil imports rose to the second-highest level on record in February, as strong demand from independent “teapot” refiners continues to drive growth. February’s imports came in at 31.78 million tonnes or 8.286 million barrels per day, up 3.5 percent on a year ago, Chinese customs data showed on Wednesday. Daily shipments were only behind December’s record 8.57 million bpd, but up on 8.01 million bpd in January. “Teapots have been the main driver of strong oil imports in January and February. Chinese crude oil buying wrapped up 2016 with a record and the momentum will continue this year as we expect private refiners to keep high run rates,” said Li Yan, an analyst with oil consultancy Zibo Longzhong information Group. Imports are expected to ease from March when several major plants […]

China’s February exports up 4.2 pct, imports up 44.7 pct

8 Mar 2017   China

China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 4.2 percent year on year in February, while imports up by 44.7 percent, customs data showed on Wednesday. That led to a monthly trade deficit of 60.36 billion yuan (8.74 billion U.S. dollars), in contrast with a surplus of over 354 billion yuan in January, according to the General Administration of Customs.

China will not force big coal output cuts if prices reasonable: NDRC

7 Mar 2017   China, Coal

China will not force coal mines to cut output on a large scale if prices remain within a reasonable range, the country’s state planner said on Tuesday, the latest comments from the government on its efforts to tackle excess supplies and smog. In a statement, the National Development and Reform Commission said provincial governments and relevant agencies will decide whether to implement cutbacks at mines that are not considered “advanced”. It did not say what price range it would consider reasonable. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

China Softens Coal Focus in Bid to Clean Up Its Skies

6 Mar 2017   China

China’s government pledged to dramatically slow a coal-power building binge that is threatening its environment, saying Sunday it would shut down dozens of coal-power plants and stop some new construction. In his annual report delivered Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said China would eliminate more than 50 gigawatts of coal-power…

Electric cars: China’s battle for the battery market

The headquarters of CATL, China’s fastest growing battery maker, lie on the edge of the city of Ningde, a stone’s throw from ponds where farmers raise carp and a street of cheap noodle restaurants and vehicle repair shops frequented by migrant workers. Inside the vast factory, battery parts move silently on automated conveyor belts. Signs on the walls encourage workers not to waste materials or time, or indulge in “unnecessary bending” for their own safety. The plant looks like lots of others dotted across the country. But with a valuation of $11.5bn, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, to give it its full name, is anything but mundane. It is set to become China’s Panasonic — a national champion — and a key part of Beijing’s ambitious plan to remake the global battery market and exploit rising demand for electric cars. “We want to become a leading enterprise, like the front carriage of a train, driving an entire supply chain,” says Neill Yang, CATL’s marketing director. His office overlooks cranes and cement mixers, which are building a dormitory and offices to house 20,000 workers.

China Shifts Stance, Letting Dying Firms Go Bankrupt

4 Mar 2017   China

Bankruptcies of Chinese businesses have surged in the past two years, in a sign the state is beginning to take painful steps to trim the bloated industrial sector as it tries to rein in debt. China’s search for ways to manage its slowest growth in a quarter-century hangs over the annual National People’s Congress, which starts on Sunday. The challenge is expected to drive discussions among delegates on how to unwind…

China’s largest ‘teapot’ refiner, CEFC team up in Shandong oil terminal venture

3 Mar 2017   China

Dongming Petrochemical Group’s logo is pictured at its office in Beijing, March 4, 2016. Dongming Petrochemical, China’s largest independent or ‘teapot’ refiner, has signed a deal with privately run CEFC China Energy and a local port authority to build a crude oil terminal in Shandong province, seeking to ease a logistics bottleneck gripping the country’s teapot oil sector. The 3.9 billion yuan ($566 million) project with conglomerate CEFC China Energy and Rizhao port authorities comes as China’s teapots refiners emerge as a catalyst in the global oil market, ramping up Russian and U.S. imports in frenzied buying that has led to tanker queues and scarce storage space. Executives at Dongming, formally known as Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group, and private firm CEFC said on Friday that publicly owned Rizhao Port Authorities will take 51 percent of the project, CEFC 25 percent and Dongming 24 percent. Plans include a 300,000 deadweight […]

China takes climate mantle from U.S., Greenpeace says

1 Mar 2017   China, Climate, USA

A survey of data from China finds the world’s second-largest economy is advancing on efforts to cut emissions, an environmental group said. Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace said its review of data from the Chinese government shows a decline in emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, of around 1 percent, the fourth year in a row for either zero growth or a decline. In early February, Beijing Mayor Cai Qi said the city would move to improve air quality across the region by taking a dramatic step away from the use of coal. China accounts for about 50 percent of the global demand for coal and, because of the size of its economy, that translates […]

China’s coal imports from North Korea ease after sanctions

25 Feb 2017   China, North Korea

China’s coal imports from North Korea eased last month after new U.N. Security Council sanctions curbing the isolated country’s sales abroad came into effect, while Russia, Mongolia, Australia and Indonesia raised shipments, data showed on Friday. January imports from North Korea eased 13 percent from a year earlier to 1.45 million tonnes, the data showed. They were down 28 percent from December. January’s volume accounted for almost 20 percent of the latest U.N. annual sales quota of 7.5 million tonnes or $400.9 million, whichever is smaller, on North Korea’s biggest export. The imports last month came before Beijing’s decision last Saturday to ban coal shipments entirely after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile in its first […]

North Korea says China ‘dancing to the tune of the US’

24 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal exports to China are a key source of cash for the politically isolated nation North Koreans look over coal exports in the border town of Siniuju N Korea condemns Kim death investigation ‘Hunt’ for refugees who helped Snowden Japan ‘baldies’ hold annual get-together

Abu Dhabi Awards China’s CEFC 4% Of Oil Concession For $900MM

21 Feb 2017   Abu Dhabi, China

Abu Dhabi awarded a 4 percent stake in its giant onshore oil concession to CEFC China Energy Co for a fee of 3.3 billion dirhams ($900 million), state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) said on Monday. The stake is the last to be awarded in the concession after international energy companies including Total, BP and China’s CNPC secured stakes. ADNOC owns 60 percent of the concession. The onshore fields, operated by Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO, have total resources estimated at between 20 billion and 30 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the term of the concession. On Sunday, CNPC secured an 8 percent stake in ADCO for about $1.8 billion. For little-known, privately run CEFC the deal, which has a term of 40 years and is […]

North Korea’s Regime In Jeopardy As China Bans Coal Imports

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

On Saturday, China said that it was suspending all imports of coal from North Korea as part of its effort to implement United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program. The ban, according to a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, takes effect on today and will last until the end of the year. While China will hardly suffer material adverse impacts, Chinese trade – and aid – have long been a vital economic crutch for North Korea, and the decision strips North Korea of one of its most important sources of foreign currency. The ban comes six days after the North Korean test of a ballistic missile that the Security Council condemned as a violation of its resolutions that prohibited the country from developing and testing ballistic missile technology. In the test, – which took place during […]

China coal firms to discuss moves to stabilize output on Tuesday: media

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s top coal producers will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans for stabilizing output this year, the official Shanghai Securities News reported. The meeting organized by the China Coal Association will assess current operations and explore further measures to ensure stable output, the newspaper said in a report on its website on Monday. Talk in the market that the government will reinstall daily limits on coal mining output after the winter heating period pushed up thermal coal futures last week. Coke and coking coal futures rose on Monday after Beijing suspended imports of North Korean coal as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country. The output cuts, introduced in April 2016, ordered mines to limit the number of days they operate each year to 276 from 330 […]

China steel mills caught on the hop by North Korea coal ban

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s steel mills and traders were scrambling to find alternative supplies of coking coal for steel making on Monday after Beijing slapped a surprise ban on coal imports from its isolated northern neighbor. Chinese prices of steel, coking coal and coke all rallied, as traders and analysts said mills will likely be forced to buy more expensive domestic material or seek alternatives further afield from Russia or Australia, driving up costs. While North Korea accounts for only a small portion of China’s total coal imports, it is the main foreign supplier of high-quality thermal coal, called anthracite, which is used to make coke, a key ingredient in steelmaking. “This news really took us by […]

After OPEC cuts heavy oil, China teapot refiners pull U.S. supply to Asia

21 Feb 2017   China, USA

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. Chinese independent, or teapot, refiners are bringing in rare cargoes of North American heavy crude in a new long-distance flow that traders say has only been made possible by OPEC’s output cuts and ample supplies in Canada and the United States. In April, at least 1 million barrels of the heavy crude Mars, pumped from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, are expected to land in China’s Shandong province and 1 million barrels of a second unidentified heavy grade will arrive in China, trade and shipping sources said last week. This follows the arrival in January of 600,000 barrels of U.S. Gulf Blend, a heavy crude made up of a blend of various U.S. and Canadian grades loaded onto ships on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to the sources and shipping […]

China’s North Korea import ban the latest gyrating coal policy: Russell

20 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal markets could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused about the recent signals coming out of top importer China, with both bullish and bearish developments in evidence. The most obvious bullish news relates mainly to coking coal used in steel-making, and like many announcements in China it’s political in nature. China said on Feb. 18 that it will suspend all imports of coal from its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea until Dec. 31, a move that, if implemented, would bring a dramatic halt to cargoes from China’s fourth-biggest supplier of imported coal. The statement from the Ministry of Commerce was brief and didn’t go into reasons for the ban, although it came shortly after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic […]

China’s oil demand growing, but at a slower pace

14 Feb 2017   China

A metric used to gauge oil demand in China, the world’s second-largest economy, show steady gains but at a slower pace than before, S&P Global Platts said. Platts measured China’s apparent oil demand, which measures the amount moving through domestic refineries against net imports, at 2.3 percent higher in December when compared with last year. When using official government data, apparent oil demand last year declined 0.8 percent as the economy moved from a quantitative growth phase to a qualitative one. The assessment from Platts, however, said it found an increase because of activity at independent Chinese refineries. “That said, the pace of growth fell in 2016 from 6.6 percent in 2015, when oil demand had been boosted by […]

China Set To Resume Work On Nuclear Power Plants

14 Feb 2017   China, Nuclear

In order to cater to growing power demand, China is likely to begin construction on inland nuclear reactors in the next four years, resuming plans for nuclear power plants that were halted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, a senior energy official told Chinese media on Monday. China has already decided which locations would host its inland nuclear power plants, Wang Yiren, vice director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, and vice-chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, has told China National Radio in an interview. As of 2015, China’s 2016-2020 Five-Year Plan had the government investing US$78 billion to build seven new reactors a year from 2016 for the next five years. According to the plan, the country will reach 88 gigawatts of nuclear power by the end of 2020. The resumption of the projects for China’s inland nuclear power stations […]

Beijing issues yellow alert for smog

14 Feb 2017   China

Beijing issued a yellow alert for heavy air pollution Tuesday as a new round of smog hit the city, authorities said. The alert indicates an air quality index of over 200, or over 150 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic meter of air for two consecutive days, was issued at 10 a.m., according to a statement by the city’s air pollution emergency response office. Air quality will improve around noon Thursday, according to the statement. Outdoor construction will be limited, while more road cleaning will be conducted. Beijing has a four-tier color alert system for pollution, with red the highest, followed by orange, yellow and blue. Smog is also predicted in large parts of northern China on Tuesday and Wednesday.

China Jan crude oil imports at 34.03 mil mt, down from Dec’s record

14 Feb 2017   -, China

China’s crude oil imports and oil product exports in January retreated from fresh highs in December, but were still higher from the same month last year, according to preliminary data Friday from the General Administration of Customs. The country imported 34.03 million mt of crude in January, down 6.5% from the record high of 36.38 million mt in December despite surging 27.5% on the year. The 6.5% month-on-month decrease was much smaller than the 19.6% drop in January 2016 from December 2015, indicating strong import interest last month which could even extend into February, analysts said. China’s crude oil imports kept hitting record highs in December as oil companies rushed to use up import quotas. As a result inflows in December 2015 and 2016 hit 33.19 million mt and 36.38 million mt, respectively. In contrast to January 2016, oil companies preferred to buy more before crude oil prices would […]

U.S. Dependent on China for Rare Earth Minerals

14 Feb 2017   -, China, USA

An overlooked report has revealed the United States is completely reliant on imports from foreign countries, most heavily China, for rare earth minerals critical to our national security. The report, released by the United States Geological Survey, stated the United States is 100% dependent on foreign imports for at least 20 elements and minerals, including 17 classified as rare earth minerals critical to the development of high-grade magnets used in aircraft and missile systems. In addition to the use in military hardware, many rare earth minerals are critical for the development of GPS systems, satellite imaging, night vision goggles, and consumer products like smartphones and flat-screen televisions. One country has a near monopoly over exporting rare earth minerals to the United States: China. According to the report, the United States is 100% reliant on foreign countries (most notably the African nations of Gabon and South Africa) for the mineral […]

China steel capacity rises in 2016, despite closures: Greenpeace

13 Feb 2017   China

Chinese steel capacity in operation actually rose in 2016 after a high-profile closure program concentrated on shutting idled plants, environment group Greenpeace said on Monday. China – the world’s top producer and consumer of steel – said early last year it would shut as much as 150 million tonnes of annual crude steel capacity over the next five years to tackle a supply glut that had encouraged a surge in cheap exports, exposing the nation to anti-dumping complaints. The campaign to curtail steel capacity overlapped with the country’s war on pollution, with hundreds of poorly regulated mills blamed for much of the hazardous smog drifting across northern China. “We believe that it’s above all in China’s self-interest to tackle the overcapacity problem, because of the tremendous health and environmental costs as well as associated financial risks,” said Greenpeace campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta. In research conducted with Custeel, a consultancy affiliated […]

Exclusive: China mulls radical steps targeting metals, coal in war on smog – document

13 Feb 2017   China, Climate

China is considering forcing steel and aluminum producers to cut more output, banning coal in one of the country’s top ports and shutting some fertilizer and drug plants as Beijing intensifies its war on smog, a draft policy document shows. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has proposed the measures in a draft policy document seen by Reuters. If implemented, they would be some of the most radical steps so far to tackle air quality in the country’s most polluted cities. The move comes after China’s northeast has battled some of the worst pollution in years as emissions from heavy industry, coal burning in winter and increased transport have left major cities including Beijing blanketed in […]

China forex reserves fall below $3tn to hit 5-year low

7 Feb 2017   China

China’s foreign exchange reserves dipped below $3tn in January for the first time in five years but the decline was the lowest in seven months as tighter capital controls and a stronger renminbi discouraged outflows.  Official reserves fell by $12.3bn to just under $3tn, well below the average $52bn monthly drop in the third quarter of last year.  China’s reserves peaked at $3.99tn in June 2014 but since then the central bank has sold dollars aggressively to curb renminbi depreciation.

Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West

6 Feb 2017   China, Russia

“With Tillerson’s confirmation, Exxon just annexed the United States,” –anonymous blogger. To many observers, the appointment of Tillerson to the helm the State Dept signaled the Administration’s priority of supporting the oil industry, which in recent years has been under severe pressure from OPEC’s campaign of over-production that forced prices down to a post-recession low. Seen from a different angle, the move also signals Exxon, the oil giant, establishing a strong connection with the Administration. As the former CEO of Exxon, and a member of the Board of Directors of the company that was the core of the original Rockefeller Family’s Standard Oil monopoly, Tillerson also brings direct contact with the Rockefeller Family, whose members remain on the Exxon Board. Former Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice, who also sits on the BoD, along with Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, both listed as an Exxon consultant, also […]

China’s 2016 oil demand in the red as GDP growth hits 26-year low

2 Feb 2017   China

China’s apparent oil demand slipped into the negative territory in 2016, a sharp reversal from the near 7% growth witnessed a year earlier, as the country’s slowest GDP growth in 26 years slashed appetite for industrial and transportation fuels in Asia’s biggest oil consuming nation. A near 25% growth in LPG demand and close to double-digit growth in naphtha and jet fuel demand failed to offset the impact of sharp falls in gasoil and fuel oil consumption, pulling down overall oil demand in 2016 by 0.8% to 11.11 million b/d, compared with a growth of 6.6% in 2015. The world’s second biggest oil consumer saw a sharp slowdown in demand after GDP growth slowed to 6.7% in 2016 from 6.9% in 2015 and 7.3% in 2014. GDP growth was 3.9% in 1990. Although GDP growth was only 0.2 percentage points lower than in 2015, fixed asset investment growth slowed […]

Is The $4 Trillion Saudi Reform Plan Inspired By China?

30 Jan 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

In an ironic decision, Saudi Arabia’s Muslim rulers, leading anti-Communists of the Cold War, may be adopting the economic management model of the atheist Communist Party of China. But rulers gotta rule… Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia recently announced Vision 2030 , the most ambitious Saudization project ever, likely driven by a $150 billion drop in reserves due to a steep decline in oil prices. Among the project’s stated objectives are some hardy perennials: reduce the role of the public sector and make the private sector the engine of the economy, reduce dependence on oil, increase participation of women in the work force, reduce corruption, and an unprecedented public share offering of 5 percent of Saudi Aramco (the Saudi Arabian Oil Company) to recapitalize the country’s reserves. But the key goal isn’t mentioned: ensure the continuing rule of the country by the Al-Saud family. Vision […]

Big Chinese Deals Stall on Capital-Outflows Clampdown

28 Jan 2017   China

The pace of big Chinese takeovers abroad is slowing as buyers contend with rules tightening the flow of money out of the country and increased government scrutiny at home and overseas. Bankers say many of the record-breaking $225 billion in overseas acquisitions Chinese companies announced last year are stalled by financial or regulatory hurdles—including the country’s biggest-ever deal, China National Chemical Corp.’s $43 billion…

China’s Oil Majors Set To Lift CAPEX For First Time In Years

27 Jan 2017   China

China’s oil majors are expected to pump up spending in 2017 for the first time in years, scrambling to squeeze more barrels of crude out of ageing domestic wells in the hope that higher prices are here to stay. State-run explorer CNOOC Ltd set the tone this month. After an international output cut agreed late last year lifted benchmark Brent crude futures to a peak of nearly $58 a barrel, not seen for 18 months, CNOOC said it would spend as much as $10 billion, up to 40 percent more than 2016. Industry executives and analysts say that increase – the first in CNOOC’s annual […]

Angolan Fund Says China Exim Will Lend $600 Million for New Port

25 Jan 2017   Angola, China

The Export-Import Bank of China is lending Angola as much as $600 million for the construction of a deep-sea port in the northern enclave of Cabinda, according to Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the chairman of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund. The first phase of the port, which will include a 630-meter (2,070-foot) container terminal, ship-repair facilities, warehouses, a power plant and a free-trade zone, will be completed in the second half of this year, Dos Santos said in an interview in London on Tuesday. The work is being carried out by a Chinese construction company. Fundo Soberano de Angola, the wealth fund known by its Portuguese acronym FSDEA , is investing $180 million from its infrastructure fund in return for a 50 percent stake in Caio Porto, the company operating the project, Dos Santos said. The other half is owned by Angolan investors whom Dos Santos declined to identify. The […]